Atelier Ryza 3 Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key LadiesGamers

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key Review

Game: Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key
Genre: Adventure, RPG
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam (Windows), Xbox and PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Gust | Koei Tecmo
Age Rating: EU 12+ | US Teen
Price:  US $59.99 | UK £49.99 | EU € 59,99
Release Date: March 24th, 2023

Review code provided with many thanks to Koei Tecmo Europe

Visiting With Old Friends

Here we are, two years after Atelier Ryza 2: Lost Legends & the Secret Fairy we are back, joining Reisalin Stout and her friends Klaudia, Lent and Tao on yet another adventure. (Already bought the game? Here’s our guide!)

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is the 24th Atelier game and the third one featuring the same main characters. That is a first for Gust, who in the past, tended to make every game about another protagonist. I think a change in their modus operandi, as last year they already surprised us with Atelier Sophie 2. A great choice, as I think it’s wonderful to connect again with the bunch from Kurken Island. Really, when I started playing, it was like catching up with old friends.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
The friends are back together again.

It isn’t like in many games where the characters never get older. I mean, Mario would need a walker by now if they had aged him with the years in real life! In the Atelier Ryza games, we see their development from teens to young women and men. Like Lent, who has found his way in the world, despite a neglectful father. And Klaudia is following in her father’s footsteps to ensure the Valenz Factory is successful. It’s the little things that make this third Atelier Ryza game so immersive: the look on Lent’s face when facing his father again. The conflict and sadness between the two are so clear to see, despite hardly a word being said. And Klaudia gets all business-like when she finds an item in a local market that she sees the commercial value of.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
Lent faces his father

If you are entirely new to the Ryza series of games, you don’t have to play the first and second one before to enjoy Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key. Gust has included a prologue movie that gets you up to speed.

Kark Islands Appear

A couple of years have passed since Ryza left her friends after successfully closing the gate to the underworld and saying an emotional goodbye to Fi. Everyone went their own way, and Ryza has returned to Kurken Island. By now, she has become the alchemist that the community depends upon, so when a mysterious group of islands, called the Kark Islands, pop up near her hometown, Ryza is called upon to investigate. As luck would have it, Tao and Bos are already there, on vacation, and Klaudia and Lent also hurry back. The friends are back together and set out to find out why the islands popped up and how to make them disappear.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
Krak Islands appeared out of nowhere

They discover ruins with a huge gate, and just as Ryza approaches, a strange voice echoes in her head, telling her to reach the Code of the Universe. At the same time, a recipe pops into her head to synthesize a key, but she has no idea why. That is the beginning of their new adventure that takes them into a vast open world to new regions and where they meet new characters.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
Ryza makes a Secret Key without knowing why

As part of the charm of the Atelier Ryza games is the solid storyline, I’ll try not to spoil that for you. Instead, I will highlight things I noticed in Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key that differ from the other Ryza games.

Alchemy is Fun

The Atelier games are based on alchemy: you can synthesize any item just as long as you have the right recipe and the ingredients. In this new game, Ryza can even synthesize an entirely new base for the friends to stay in during their travels, but you don’t get to do that yourself. You choose what kind of base you want, as there are benefits to each variant, and pretty soon, she has the building ready. You can, however, decorate it once you have collected some furniture and items to make it look even better.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
Synthesizing an entire house and its contents

The synthesis follows the same pattern as the other Ryza games. You need essential materials to be able to make an item. Then you can add other extra materials to make better effects and give the item special traits or higher quality. All is aimed, of course, to make it more effective in healing, battle or exploring. What’s new is that the quest items you have to make are on the top of the recipe list, which saves you some searching.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
Beautiful-looking synthesis system

A skill tree is there to unlock new abilities and recipes. And by synthesizing, battling or doing quests, you get SP points to do so. Making items can also unlock recipes that follow as a sort of chain reaction.

Fast Paced Battle

Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key has a fast pace turn-based combat with a team of 5 characters. You control one of the characters in the front row, and when it’s your turn, you can use normal attacks with your weapon to accumulate AP. And this AP can then be used to unleash magical attacks and use skills. Magical attacks, in turn, generate CC points, with which you can use items in battle, like bombs or healing potions. That’s the short explanation of the battle, and that sounds pretty easy, right?

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
You can also make keys while in battle, specifically for that type of monster.

Except, it isn’t. It’s hectic on the screen with everyone fighting, and you can make several choices to influence the flow of the battle. You can play in Supportive mode, allowing your character to use skills and magical attacks. You can also set it to Aggressive mode, allowing all the other front-row characters to use those AP points too.

During the battle, your party members will request you use physical or magical attacks through Action Orders, and when you do as they ask, they follow up with more powerful skills. Giving you more CC points to use again. The beauty of this game is that you can influence in the stats what kind of Action Orders are used.

A battle can be hectic but fun.

I am more of a fan of slower-paced turn-based battles, but you do get used to it. And the monsters early in the game, while you are still finding your footing, aren’t too hard to fight.

Secret Keys are Essential

The main difference with the other Ryza games is that Secret Keys are used in alchemy, battle and exploration. And they are also essential to the plot of the game. You can make Hollow Keys when you find certain landmarks on the map. And you need these Hollow Keys to create new keys during battle or at certain indicated points you find while exploring.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
The first couple of my collection of Secret Keys

Part of the fun is the great variety of keys that can be made, as each kind of monster gives off a different key with various benefits, as does each landmark. While exploring, they can give you materials or unlock small areas for you. In battle, they can give you a buff and various other attack effects based on the kind of key you use. In alchemy, you can create a more unique and higher quality item when you use a key. And they all look beautiful.

Exploring and Cooking

I feel as if exploring is changed most from the other games. Sure, alchemy and fighting are even more polished and have extra layers to them. The addition of the Keys is major, of course. But exploring has an entirely different feeling to it. There are several ways to get around. You can sprint by pressing the R-shoulder on the Switch, very handy for outrunning enemies. Using the same R-shoulder while you are in the water lets Ryza do the breaststroke. There are ropes like in Ryza 2, but there are also Zip-lines to get around with. And there are several mounts to ride.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
Did you ever want to ride a dolphin? Ryza can!

Going from one area to the next is seamless. In the other games, you had to specifically choose to go from one area to the next. Here the areas are broken up by landmarks only. And these are very important because you can warp back to them later on. You can’t see how you must go when exploring for the first time because, looking at the overall map, you see it entirely covered in clouds. Only finding a landmark will partially lift the clouds so you can see the paths and streams.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
One of the regions in the overworld map

You can stay out for quite some time until your basket is full, and you have to go to your atelier to unload. Otherwise, the campfires dotted around will let you rest and cook! You can make an actual meal for the first time in the series. These meals give you benefits, like stat changes or more rewards, that you can use in battle.

Side quests work differently, too. There are some that you have to trigger specifically by talking to a person you meet. But others trigger automatically when you enter an area. They can be time-limited or tied to the area you are in. Some involve finding monster after monster in one sweep. Others in finding powerful materials around that are golden coloured. And so on.

What’s Not to Like?

It’s truly an open-world RPG, and the game runs flawlessly on the Switch. The world is detailed, crisp, and varied, showing the different cultures Ryza and her friends encounter. I’m pretty sure the soundtrack will be another entry on my Spotify library if and when it gets released. The music in Atelier Ryza 3 is of the kind that I just have to hear and then I want to pick up the game.

Atelier Ryza 3 Review
Beautiful graphics, lovely and detailed

There are a few remarks, but they don’t dampen my enthusiasm for the game. The world is teeming with monsters, though Ryza can, fortunately, easily outrun them. But it is difficult with them constantly hunting you to take a good look around. And it’s not easy to find your way around; I got lost several times without finding a way out.

Conclusion – Atelier Ryza Goes Out With a Bang

With the third, and, judging from the title, last Atelier Ryza game, Gust has done it again. Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key is another gaming experience the fans will absolutely love. And even if you’re not a fan yet, this is an excellent title to jump into; watch the prologue in the game and see that the Atelier games are wonderful adventure RPGs.

The main quest will keep you occupied for many, many hours with an excellent story, mysteries to solve, making stuff with alchemy and fighting monsters. It’s easy to get lost in this huge world and ‘smell the roses’. But unless you’re in a hurry, that may even be the best way to play, as it will give you many, many hours of good gaming fun. What could be better, travelling with friends on another grand adventure?

Final Verdict: Two Thumbs Up!Two thumbs up

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